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Office of Federal Relations Summer Internship

The Office of Federal Relations invites undergraduate students or graduate students, or recent graduates from Vanderbilt University or the Washington, D.C.-area with ties to Tennessee who are interested in higher education or science public policy issues to apply for our summer internship.  

This internship will provide you with a firsthand look at the federal policymaking process and the role that advocates play in influencing public policy. As one of the nation's leading research universities, Vanderbilt University plays an important role in the federal process. Both as a recipient of federal grant funding and an expert provider of cutting-edge research and analysis, Vanderbilt's voice is vital to the consideration of national policy issues. Among the many topics on which the Office of Federal Relations focuses are funding for research in science, engineering, social sciences, education, and the humanities; higher education policy; student aid; tax issues; and policies related to international students and scholars.  

As an intern, your responsibilities may include:  

  • Researching public policy initiatives related to the university’s federal policy priorities  
  • Tracking federal legislation related to the university’s priorities  
  • Attending or watching virtual congressional hearings and other relevant briefings  
  • Assisting in developing a weekly e-newsletter that is sent to Capitol Hill staff  
  • Drafting social media content to support our advocacy efforts
  • Updating communications tools 

The ideal candidate would have a strong interest in the role advocacy plays in the federal policy process and the issues of interest to the university. Strong writing and critical thinking skills are a must!  

The summer internship may be paid or for academic credit, depending on the opportunities offered through your academic institution.  

The summer internship is expected to be in-person. This is typically a full time (40 hours per week) commitment. The internship typically lasts eight weeks, beginning in early June and concluding at the end of July.  


  • Cover letter  
  • Resume  
  • Contact information for two references – for example, a professor, supervisor, or peer with whom you have worked closely on a project  
  • 400-word policy memo on a policy topic of your choice  

Please submit your application to Heather Bloemhard, Associate Director of Federal Relations, at .  

Please direct questions about the internship opportunity to Heather Bloemhard.  

Vanderbilt University applicants may seek help on their application from their  career advisor .  

Next Deadline:

  • Summer 2023 internship: February 10, 2023